EXCUSES

"If God gives me some ‘sign,’ then I will believe."

The unsaved often want a "sign" from God. This is in spite of the testimony of creation, their conscience, the Bible, and the Christian. The cross is the only thing that can truly convince a sinner of the reality of who Jesus is. Once they understand that the holes in His hands and His feet are there because of their own sin, they will fall at His feet and cry, "My Lord and my God!"

"I made a commitment, but nothing happened."

Some people don’t get past "square one" because they trust in their feelings rather than God. His promises are true, despite our feelings. If I make a promise to my wife, that promise is true whether she is feeling happy or sad. If she doubts my word, then she brings a slur to my integrity. Anyone who genuinely repents and trusts in Christ will be saved. The Bible makes this promise: "He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" [John 14:21]. There’s the promise, and there’s the condition. Any person who loves and obeys Jesus will begin a supernatural relationship with Him and the Father. He said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3).

That doesn’t mean you will hear voices or see visions. God will instead make you a new person from within. He will send His Spirit to live within you. You will have a new heart with new desires. You will suddenly become conscious of God and His creation. The Bible will open up to you and become a living Word, and you will have an inner witness that you are saved, that your name is written in heaven, and that death has lost its sting (1 John 5:10–12).

"I will believe if God will appear to me."

A proud and ignorant sinner who says this has no understanding of the nature of His Creator. No man has ever seen the essence of God. (When God "appeared" to certain men in the Old Testament, He manifested Himself in other forms, such as a burning bush or "the Angel of the Lord.")

When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God told him, "I will make all my goodness pass before you,...[but] you cannot see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live" (Exodus 33:18–23). If all of God’s "goodness" were shown to a sinner, he would instantly die. God’s "goodness" would just spill wrath upon evil man. However, the Lord told Moses, "It shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by." The only way a sinner can live in the presence of a holy God is to be hidden in the Rock of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

"If I submit to God, I’ll just become a puppet!"

"A brilliant young man questioned Dr. Henrietta Mears about surrendering his life to God. He was convinced that becoming a Christian would mean the destruction of his personality, that he’d be altered in some strange way, and that he’d lose control of his own mind. He feared becoming a mere puppet in God’s hands.

"So Miss Mears asked him to watch as she turned on a lamp. One moment it was dark, then she turned on the switch. She explained, ‘The lamp surrendered itself to the electric current and light has filled the room. The lamp didn’t destroy its personality when it surrendered to the current. On the contrary—the very thing happened for which the lamp was created: it gave light.’"

Vonette Bright, Renew a Steadfast Spirit Within Me

"I’ll wait until I am old, then I’ll get right with God."

You may not get the chance. God may just lose patience with you and end your life. Perhaps you don’t think He would do such a thing. Then read Genesis 38:7 to see how God killed a man who was wicked. Jesus told of a man who boasted that he had so many goods that he would have to build bigger barns. God called the man a fool and took his life that night.

Those who say they will repent in their own time lack the fear of God. Their understanding of His nature is erroneous. If they caught a glimpse of His holiness, His righteousness, and His consuming justice, they wouldn’t trifle with His mercy. Such arrogance needs to be confronted with the thunders of Mount Sinai. He is not wise who thinks he can outwit his Creator, enjoy a lifetime of sin, and repent at the last minute. Deathbed repentance is very rare. God killed a husband and wife because they told a lie (Acts 5:1–10). He lost patience with them. Most people think that God’s patience is eternal. It evidently is not.

The Bible says that it is through the fear of the Lord that men depart from sin (Proverbs 16:6). If they don’t fear God, they will be complacent about their eternal salvation (Matthew 10:28).

"I was once a born-again Christian. Now I believe it’s all rubbish!"

When a person maintains that he was once a Christian, but came to his senses, he is saying that he once knew the Lord (see John 17:3). Ask him, "Did you know the Lord?" He will then be forced to say, "I thought I did!" This gives you license to gently say, "If you don’t know so, then you probably didn’t." If he didn’t know the Lord, he was therefore never a Christian (1 John 5:11–13,20).

Explain to him that the Bible speaks of false conversion, in which a "stony ground" hearer receives the Word with joy and gladness. Then, in a time of tribulation, temptation, and persecution, falls away. If he is open to reason, take him through the Ten Commandments, into the message of the cross, and the necessity of repentance and faith in the Savior.

"Seeing is believing. If I can’t see it, I don’t believe it exists."

We believe in many things that we can’t see. Ask a skeptic if he has ever seen the wind. Has he seen history? Has he ever seen his brain? We see the effects of the wind, but the wind is invisible. We have records of history, but it is by "faith" that we believe certain historical events happened. Television waves are invisible, but an antenna and a receiver can detect their presence. The unregenerate man likewise has a "receiver." However, the receiver (his spirit) is dead because of sin (Ephesians 2:1). He needs to be plugged into the life of God; then he will come alive and be aware of the invisible spiritual realm.

"When you’re dead, you’re dead."

What if you are wrong? What if God, Jesus, the prophets, the Jews, and Christians are right and you are wrong? If there is no afterlife, no Judgment Day, no heaven, and no hell, then God is unjust and each of the above is guilty of being a false witness. It means that Almighty God couldn’t care less about the fact that a man rapes a woman, then cuts her throat and is never brought to justice. If you are right, and there is no ultimate justice, you won’t even have the joy of saying, "I told you so." However, if you are wrong, you will lose your soul and end up eternally damned. You are playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.